Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Chinese Prime Minister Le Keqiang observing the signing of an agreement
for a Chinese grant of 400 million Yuan in Beijing by China’s Deputy Minister of Trade Fu Ziying and Sri Lanka’s Minister of Development Strate Sri Lanka achieved massive economic victories in international and local fronts during the last two years. Such an era of hope had never dawned on the country before, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in Beijing, China.
The Prime Minister made these observations addressing the members of the Sri Lanka Media at the conclusion of his visit to China.
The Prime Minister said the consensual national government led by President Maithripala Sirisena has been promoting people’s welfare and development without resorting to cheap publicity to deceive the people.
He said: “We participated in the one belt one road summit. Countries attending the summit agreed on creating economic and trade relations and coordination among the participants. Each country is supposed to work according to this framework.
The Prime Minister said: “Although China summoned the summit, the IMF and the World Bank too agreed to join it. We can expect more organisations to join the endeavour. What is important for Sri Lanka is to take the next step in this direction. This road will not only improve infrastructure facilities but create the possibility to develop trade, industries and the economy and provide more employment.”
The Prime Minister said: ‘I along with ministers in my delegation discussed these matters with the Chinese President and Prime Minister. We also dismissed the progress achieved on the programmes launched under the agreement reached last year.
We should move forward towards the next step after reviewing the progress achieved by the Port City project and the Hambantota Port project. We also drew attention towards making Colombo a navigation hub with the progress achieved by the Hambantota and Colombo Ports, creating industries at Hambantota and providing opportunities for Chinese and other international investors in them.
“We discussed measures to transform the Port City project into a financial city and develop it as a regional financial hub. The Chinese President and Prime Minister promised to provide greater assistance towards the development of Sri Lanka in the next few years. I should emphasise that the one belt one road programme is a successful project,” he said.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said: “It should be emphasised that a series of significant events for Sri Lanka occurred during the last two months. President Sirisena visited Russia and met Russian President Vladimir Putin. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook a tour of Sri Lanka.”
“Before that I visited India and met Prime Minister Modi. In the second week of April 9, I visited Japan and met Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. All this will create vast economic benefits to Sri Lanka,” he said.
Sri Lanka will receive the GSP plus facility today. This shows that we were able to obtain benefits from powerful nations and organisations within a short period. We are making this endeavour in the interests of the country. I would like to ask whether there had been such a bright era for the country before, the Prime Minister said.
“We don’t resort to drum beating. We work hard for the progress of the country by keeping our mouths shut,” he said.
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to China Dr. Karunasena Kodituwakku said the Chinese President had agreed to make special financial grants to Sri Lanka this year.
About 400 million Yuan will be received this year.
The Chinese President promised two billion Yuan during the 2018-2020 period.
Although Sri Lankan leaders had visited China before, this is the first time China had pledged such colossal funds to Sri Lanka.
The Chinese President praised Prime Minister Wickremesinghe for attending the summit. Sri Lanka will receive aid from the Silk Route Fund and the ADB. Special Projects Minister Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Development Strategies and International Trade Minister Malik Samarawickreme also spoke. (Daily News)